Missing Eritrea football team 'welcome home' Officials said it was the third time an Eritrean team had failed to return Eritrea's national football team, who have gone missing in Kenya, are welcome to return home, officials say. Information Minister Ali Abdu told the BBC they would get a "good welcome" despite "betraying" their country. He confirmed reports that 12 players had not returned from a regional tournament in Kenya. The UN says hundreds of Eritreans flee the country every month amid reports of government repression, poverty and a harsh national service regime. But the government denies that Eritreans are fleeing and accuses the UN of lying about the figures. Mr Ali told the BBC's Focus on Africa that the disappearance was "not good news". But he said: "This is their country. They are entitled to live and work in their country, if they come back." When the plane returned to the Eritrean capital Asmara from the Cecafa competition for East and Central African nations last week, it was reportedly carrying only the team coach and an official. The government had earlier denied any players were missing. Cecafa head Nicholas Musonye told the BBC programme it was the third time the Eritrean team had failed to return home after a tournament. The AFP news agency says Eritrea's government tried to stop sportsmen from fleeing in 2007 by forcing all travelling athletes to deposit 100,000 nakfa ($6,600) before leaving the country.